Fitness & Wellness

Your Goals Can Change Your Future

Your Goals Can Change Your Future

You often find the very thing that you focus on. If you see a bright red vehicle you love and want to buy because you think it’s unique, you’ll often start seeing that same bright red car everywhere. Setting a goal has a similar effect. Zeroing in on that goal can change your future. People in Irving, CA know that once you focus on the fitness destination, ways to achieve that goal will suddenly appear, even though they’ve been there all along.

To be effective, you must be specific.

If your goal is to be fitter, what does that mean? Does it mean you’ll have more endurance? What’s your goal? Is it to lose weight, lower blood glucose, or reduce blood pressure? If it’s weight loss, how much do you want to lose? Be specific about your goal, or you won’t know what route to take or if you reached it. Once a goal is defined, it’s easier to create ways to achieve that goal. Like the red car, you’ll see opportunities everywhere.

When you’re making your goal, make sure it’s realistic and achievable.

If you are a 35-year-old 5’5″ adult and your goal is to become 6’5″, your goal isn’t realistic or achievable. Setting a time frame helps achieve that goal. Without it you’ll never get started. It also must be realistic. If you can’t safely lose 80 pounds in a month. That would mean losing 20 pounds a week! If you were a 320-pound male and active, you’d need 3500 calories a day. To lose one pound, you need a 3500 calorie deficit. So if you ate nothing for a week, the most you could lose permanently is seven pounds. You need more time and a more realistic goal.

Break down your goal into smaller, more easily achieved goals.

Setting the goal to lose 2-pounds a week is more realistic. You have a shorter timeline to reach your mini goal, so you can achieve success quicker and more frequently. There’s nothing more motivating than success. You also need to identify ways to achieve your goal. For fitness goals, eating healthier and exercising are usually the first two things to include. Other aids include drinking more water and getting adequate sleep.

  • Once you set your goals, you’ll find new ways to achieve those goals or increase your potential for achieving them. It could mean taking the stairs instead of the elevator to build endurance.
  • Winners keep score. Track your workout and include the number of reps and sets. When your workout becomes easy, increase the challenge by increasing the number of sets and reps.
  • Celebrate wins. Everyone needs an “atta-boy.” It’s the positive confirmation you receive when you work hard and accomplish your goal. Set a reward that isn’t food-related.
  • If you aren’t sure how to set a fitness goal, our trainers will help you do it. They’ll create a program to help you reach them faster and change your life forever.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Customized Workouts Designed For You

Customized Workouts Designed For You

You are a unique individual. You may look like your parents or even have an identical twin, but your bodies will be different unless you experience everything the same. If identical twins had different exercise habits, one working out regularly and the other barely getting out of the easy chair, their bodies would reflect that difference. That’s why customized workouts can be so beneficial. They focus on areas that need more help and match your fitness level.

If you’ve ever joined a class and felt bored or left behind, you understand.

There’s nothing wrong with joining exercise groups. At least you’re moving, but it’s easy to get discouraged. If the class is too difficult, it can be embarrassing, confusing, and defeating. If it’s too easy, you’re not making progress and most likely getting bored. Both can lead to quitting the classes. If you stick with it, you’ll be getting exercise but not necessarily maximizing your workout to get the most benefit from your time. A customized workout considers your fitness level.

Customized workouts address your goals.

If your goal is weight loss, your workout will contain high-calorie-burning exercises. They’ll focus on burning fat and building muscle tissue since the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn. If it’s to increase your endurance so you don’t huff and puff climbing a flight of stairs, your customized workout will be different. Matching your workout to your goals is one reason to customize.

Customized workouts are constantly changing.

Personal trainers create customized workouts. They also track your progress and make adjustments as you continue. If the workout is accomplishing the goal and it becomes easier, that means you’ve reached a new fitness level. It’s also when the trainer modifies the workout to match that new fitness level. If you aren’t making the progress hoped for, the trainer also adjusts the workout to make it more effective.

  • When you have a customized workout, you’ll progress faster. You won’t waste time doing exercises that don’t address your needs. Trainers who create these workouts also know the exercises that get the best results.
  • Trainers identify weak muscle groups that cause smaller muscles to take over their tasks. That can lead to injuring those muscles. Customized workouts are also tailored to limitations, like knee or back problems.
  • The right type of workout can get better results in less time. Many customized workouts require less time spent in the gym. They are often complex exercises, HIIT workouts, or circuit training.
  • Personal trainers create customized workouts and continually check on your progress. They hold you accountable. You’ll get positive feedback when you accomplish something difficult, too.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

What Is Your Fitness Goal?

What Is Your Fitness Goal?

Having goals helps give your life definition. They point you in a direction you want to go and help you avoid pitfalls you might otherwise have. Whether it’s a financial or fitness goal, it defines what you want so you can create directions on how to get there. Keeping a goal in front of you can provide inspiration, motivation, and constantly looking for ways to achieve that goal quicker.

You can break your goal down into smaller goals.

If your fitness goal is challenging, it may take a long time. That can dull your excitement and diminish your motivation. Breaking down a big goal into smaller, easier-to-achieve ones gives you constant feedback and success. Suppose you want to run a marathon but can barely make it up a set of stairs without resting. Getting a marathon-ready body will take months of work. You can break down your goal or build your endurance by walking faster and further every day. The same is true for weight loss. If you want to lose 50 pounds, create smaller goals of losing two pounds weekly for 25 weeks.

Part of creating a goal is tracking your progress.

If you want to lose weight but never weigh yourself, how will you know if you’re successful? The same is true for boosting your endurance or building your strength. There are many ways to track your progress. Your goal will determine which one is best. You can also use several techniques at once. If weight loss is a goal, weighing yourself each week is the easiest. You can also take measurements that may show progress even though the scales don’t indicate it. Tracking progress helps you identify what’s working and what’s not. It also can be motivating to see how much you’ve achieved.

Fitness goals aren’t achieved just by exercising.

It takes more than exercise to be healthier, lose weight, or build endurance. Adequate sleep helps achieve those things. So does a healthy diet. You won’t progress as fast if you’re constantly riding a sugar high and not making healthy choices for meals and snacks. Eating healthy is just as vital for any fitness goal. It’s not dieting. Diets are restrictive and meant to end. It’s about making better choices. Having your goals constantly in front of you helps you make the right ones.

  • Achieving your goal is all about consistency. You may attain a small measure of success by changing habits for a few days but won’t achieve the success of a permanent lifestyle change.
  • Treat your workout as an appointment to create a habit. That can help you achieve your fitness goal. Doing weekly meal planning is another tip. Make sure you also include healthy snacks.
  • Work out with a friend or use a personal trainer. They both provide accountability. One study showed that even a phone call to check progress keeps people motivated on the right track.
  • Our trainers can help you define your goals and create an achievable plan. They’ll design a program to reach those goals faster and adjust that program when your fitness level improves.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Should You Rethink Dairy In Your Diet?

Should You Rethink Dairy In Your Diet?

Many people in Irvine, CA, removed dairy from their diet. The reasons vary. For some people, the decision was easy. They either have a dairy allergy or are lactose intolerant. Others may notice they produce less phlegm or have clearer skin when they remove dairy. A small group of people are misinformed and believe dairy is unhealthy. Dairy, like gluten, negatively affects some people, but not all people. Just like going gluten-free, if you aren’t experiencing symptoms when consuming dairy, you may be doing yourself a disservice.

Dairy is not for everyone, but it’s a healthy option for most.

If you are lactose intolerant, eating dairy-based food or drinking regular milk can have results that vary from bloating to explosive diarrhea. It’s worse for those with a dairy allergy. The reaction can be vomiting, wheezing, hives, and even life-threatening anaphylaxis. For most people, dairy provides nutrients. It’s a healthy source of protein and has 18 of the 22 essential nutrients. It’s high in phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium, iron, magnesium, and vitamins A, B-12, B-6, E, K, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, and folate.

It’s all about the type of dairy you select.

The type of dairy consumed makes a difference. Unsweetened full-fat yogurt is healthier than Rocky Road ice cream. Choosing a fat-free option is another mistake many people make. When companies remove the fat from milk or other dairy, like yogurt, it changes the taste and texture quality. Manufacturers have to add ingredients, like sugar, so it’s more palatable. The fat in the dairy also keeps you full longer. The fat in the dairy also keeps you full longer.

There are even differences in healthier forms of dairy.

Dairy from pastured—grass-fed—cows is also healthier. It has more omega-3 fatty acids and linoleic acid. If the dairy is a fermented product, like kefir, yogurt, or cheese, it’s easier to digest and lower in lactic acid, so there’s less chance of digestive issues that occur when consuming milk. It also provides beneficial microbes to help the digestive system. As already noted, full-fat options are better than low or no-fat ones. Your body needs healthy fat for many processes, including absorbing fat-soluble vitamins.

  • Your ethnicity makes a difference in your tolerance for dairy. Those with East or Central Asian, indigenous North American, or African heritage have a higher potential to develop lactose intolerance.
  • For some people, dairy can lead to skin conditions. The body considers it a toxin and removes it through urine, excrement, or skin pores. Rashes, eczema, acne, and other skin conditions may mean you’re sensitive to dairy.
  • Some people experience inflammation when they consume dairy. It can affect all parts of the body. Chronic inflammation can cause damage to the heart or show itself as arthritis.
  • Each person is different. Their response to dairy is also unique. One way to find out if dairy is the source of your problem is by an elimination diet. Remove it for 5-6 weeks and see if a chronic condition improves.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Is Soda Good For Bulking Up?

Is Soda Good For Bulking Up?

Bulking up is part of bodybuilding. The three phases include bulking up, cutting, and maintenance. In the bulking phase, you consume more calories than you burn to increase muscle gain. It provides the extra energy to increase muscle size while strength training via eating more calories. The next phase is cutting. You cut the calorie allotment to eliminate excess fat gained during bulking. During that time, bodybuilders aim to maintain their muscles while shedding fat. Soda provides extra calories for the bulking phase, but it’s not necessarily the best source for those extra calories.

Bulking starts by identifying maintenance calorie needs and increasing them.

Most diets for bulking include approximately 45-60% of calories from carbohydrates with 30-35% from protein and 15 to 30% from fat. There’s a difference between dirty bulking and clean bulking. With clean bulking, the excess calories come from whole or minimally processed foods. It’s far slower than dirty bulking, where there are no restrictions on diet, which can even include soda. Even though clean bulking takes longer to bulk up, it’s a healthier option. It reduces the time required for cutting.

Dirty bulking can lead to hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic health conditions.

While the diet is unrestricted, making it a clear favorite for those who love junk food, it can cause a high amount of excess body fat to accumulate and lead to body composition deterioration. The excess sugar in soft drinks and other junk food may offer more calories, but it also takes a toll on the body and leads to inflammation. Much of the fat goes to the belly as visceral fat. That creates a dangerous landscape for chronic conditions. Limiting your calorie intake increase can help reduce the accumulation of body fat. Eating 10 to 20% more calories than you need is sufficient.

There are higher calorie foods that are also healthy options.

Nuts and nut butter are two options that can add extra calories without the negative health effects. Nuts make a good snack. Nut butter on whole wheat toast can boost nutrients and calories. High-quality beef, fatty fish, and avocados are excellent additions to eating clean and increased calories. You’ll keep your diet clean if you limit food or drink with added sugar, fried food, highly processed food, and alcohol.

  • Some foods can also improve your workout. Eggs are a good source of high-quality protein and contain folic acid, riboflavin, and B12 which improves your workout endurance.
  • Milk products, whether it’s whole milk, cottage cheese, or yogurt, are good options for the bulking stage. They provide a high-quality protein source that provides other nutrients, especially calcium.
  • Consider sweet potatoes. They contain a lot of fiber that can improve digestion and have a low GI score to help stabilize blood sugar levels. They are also high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Don’t overlook legumes when planning menus. They’re high in nutrients like fiber, iron, folate, B vitamins, calcium, zinc, and phosphorus. They deliver a steady stream of energy, so are excellent if you have long workouts.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Home Workouts That Can Be Done While The Kids Nap

Home Workouts That Can Be Done While The Kids Nap

Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or dad or just at home with kids occasionally, you don’t have to skip exercising. There are home workouts that address all types of fitness and for all parts of the body that don’t require special equipment. You can even break up the workout into several sessions and do them when you have a short break, including while the kids are napping. Do some with the kids to help them learn a healthier lifestyle.

Use circuit training or HIIT—high intensity interval training—workout.

Both circuit training and HIIT have something in common. They can cut your workout time dramatically. During circuit training, you go from one exercise to another with only a short rest between them. HIIT alternates intensity from peak intensity to a recovery pace. With both HIIT and circuit training, you can use any exercise. It’s all about the way you do the workout. One short circuit training workout rotates one minute of each, butt kicks, jumping rope, mountain climbers, and burpees. Then rest for a minute and start again. Do this circuit of exercises four times for an excellent workout.

Do bodyweight exercises anywhere.

Push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, and squats are a few examples of bodyweight exercises you can do anywhere. If you’re watching TV with the kids, get on the floor and do a few planks. You can do these exercises almost anywhere. Lunge walk throughout the house for a few minutes a day to add to your workout. Practice squats while you do household tasks like picking clothes off the floor or taking laundry out of the dryer. Merge exercises with your daily tasks to add to your workout at home.

Strength building doesn’t require special equipment.

You don’t have to have a set of weights to build strength. Building strength is all about lifting something heavy. You can use anything, including your child, which makes it fun for the kids, too. If you want to invest in inexpensive exercise equipment, consider resistance bands. They’re inexpensive and easy to store. They provide a workout that can build muscles on all planes. Using water bottles filled with water or sand can also double as dumbbells.

  • Get everyone involved. Buy jump ropes or hula hoops for the whole family. Everyone will get the benefit of exercise that way. You can do these workouts even when the kids aren’t awake.
  • If you’re normally home with the kids, schedule your workout as you would any appointment. You can make it when the kids nap or schedule it another time and exercise with the kids.
  • Don’t forget to spend a few minutes warming up before you workout. It helps get your body and mind ready for exercise. At the end of each session, spend a minute or two with cool-down exercises.
  • Take advantage of the things you have in your home. Use your stairs as a substitute for a step-master. Run up and down the stairs. You can even pick up laundry or put away toys while you’re doing it. Just keep moving.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Should We Eat Like Our Cavemen Ancestors?

Should We Eat Like Our Cavemen Ancestors?

People in Irvine, CA, who want a healthier diet focus on whole foods. Some eat a diet based on food consumed during the Paleolithic era, 2.6 million years to 12,000 years ago. It was during the hunter-gatherer period and before farming. Sometimes, this diet is called the caveman diet. It consists of natural food and doesn’t contain dairy, grain, salts, caffeine, alcohol, legumes or sugars. It focuses primarily on greens, fruits, nuts, roots, and wild game. Paleo supporters say it genetically matches man’s digestion and makes the body healthier.

There are holes in the logic behind the diet.

The basis of the diet is the belief that it mimics early man’s diet so the body can digest it more easily. According to anthropologists, that’s false. Only about 3% of a caveman’s diet came from animal sources. Both man and food sources changed throughout the Paleolithic period. Initially, man ate more like animals. By the end of the period, man used tools and fire. The caveman didn’t have a specific diet but ate whatever was available. People near bodies of water ate fish. Their diet even included grain.

There are many reasons this diet has health benefits.

Giving up sugar, highly processed foods, and added salt is healthy. That’s another health benefit. Eating whole foods is the key to healthy eating. Studies show that initially, you’ll lose weight fast on the Paleo diet. After that initial period, it’s no better than the Mediterranean diet or other healthy options. Studies show that since it helps with weight loss, it can reduce inflammation and many chronic conditions. Fermented foods are also part of the caveman diet. They provide many health benefits.

The caveman diet eliminates grains, legumes, and dairy.

Grains, legumes, and dairy contain nutrients necessary for the body to function. Reducing grains and dairy reduces the amount of fiber, B vitamins, iron, calcium, magnesium, and selenium. People often eat far more fatty or red meat, which can cause the bad LDL cholesterol profile to rise and lead to bowel cancer. Many caveman diets are too low in carbs, which can lead to quick exhaustion. If you go on the Paleo diet but limit the red meat, it is a healthier option than the traditional American diet.

  • When it comes to heart health, studies on the Paleolithic diet vary. Some studies show that it’s good for cardiovascular health, while others show it may lead to heart disease. Medical professionals often suggest using the Mediterranean diet instead.
  • The caveman diet, like the keto diet, reduces the carbs in the diet and increases the amount of fat and protein. The increased fat and protein keep you full longer, aiding weight loss.
  • The Paleo diet helps you lose more weight initially, but after 24 months, the amount of weight loss was the same as other diets. The difference was the reduction of waist circumference and visceral—belly—fat with the Paleo diet.
  • Since the Paleo/caveman diet is more restrictive, it’s harder to maintain, making it difficult to assess the long-term benefits or health issues. Always check with your healthcare professional before starting any restrictive diet.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Ready To Get Leaner And Stronger?

Ready To Get Leaner And Stronger?

If you live in Irvine, CA, and want to get leaner and stronger, there’s nothing like a strength-building workout to do it. As you build muscle, you burn fat. Even if you don’t shed a pound, you’ll look thinner. Muscle tissue weighs more per cubic inch than fat tissue does, so a pound of fat requires a larger container. It’s like comparing a pound of feathers with a pound of steel. The container holding the feathers will be larger. As you gain muscle mass, even if you don’t lose weight, your body will look thinner, and you’ll wear a smaller size.

Building muscle mass is different from building strength.

When you do strength-building, it creates lean muscle mass. You have to workout differently to get the bodybuilder type of muscles. The difference between training for bulk and training for strength. Building strength is all about lifting heavier loads with lower repetitions, while bodybuilding is all about lifting lighter weights and training to failure. It doesn’t matter what type of training you do, whether it’s for strength or bulk, always rest the muscles for 48 to 72 hours between sessions for the same muscle group.

What you eat makes a difference.

Eating healthy is vital to getting a lean, muscular appearance. If you’re overweight, you have to either maintain the same caloric intake or cut it back slightly. Eating whole foods, including plenty of vegetables, and increasing protein can also help build muscle tissue faster. The protein required varies by age, weight, sex, and activity level.

Add HIIT workouts to your routine to burn extra calories.

You need cardio training no matter what your goal. Cardio torches calories but gets the extra energy from burning both fat and muscle tissue. The loss of muscle tissue can interfere with strength building and weight loss. It lowers your metabolism. Including HIIT—high intensity interval training—-to your workout can burn tons of calories while building muscle tissue if used during a strength-building workout.

  • Cut calories to get the lean look, but not by that much. Reduce your calorie count by 500 calories daily and increase strength training to burn fat while maintaining enough calories to build muscle tissue.
  • Use a combination of isotonic and isometric exercises. Isotonic exercises include squats, pushups, and crunches. Isometric exercises include planks and yoga poses such as the Warrior or boat pose.
  • Don’t worry about weight. Focus on inches instead. Since muscle tissue weighs more per cubic inch, you may not lose weight but will lose inches. You’ll get the lean svelte appearance and build strength.
  • Get help from a personal trainer. A trainer can design a program to help you accomplish your specific goals. He’ll include methods to help you reach those goals faster, like using compound exercises or HIIT workouts.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Fuel Your Body Before Your Workout

Fuel Your Body Before Your Workout

If you’ve ever had to cut your workout short because you simply didn’t have the energy to do one more repetition, you probably would benefit from a pre-workout snack. You can fuel your body before you workout to maximize the results. You’ll have more energy so you can accomplish more. You’ll also work more effectively. Fueling your body before the workout can improve recovery to help reduce the potential for a long recovery time. It’s especially important if your workout lasts longer than 60 minutes.

What is a pre-workout snack?

You can fuel your body in two different ways. One is to eat a full meal two to three hours before you exercise and the other is to eat a small snack about thirty minutes before working out. Both the meal and the snack should be approximately 60% carbs, with the rest protein and a small amount or no fat. The snack should contain between 100 and 200 calories. Think Greek yogurt with fresh fruit or apple slices with peanut butter when you consider a snack.

The carbs replenish the glycogen reserves in the muscles.

Working out uses the glycogen stores and the pre-workout snack can replenish the reserves. It does more than just that. While the carbs provide quick energy, the protein helps repair the micro tears that the exercise causes. You’ll recover faster when you start your workout with a snack and end it with another. You need a snack that contains healthy carbs that provide more than energy. Sugary treats can increase blood sugar too quickly, leaving you shaky. Choose nuts, cheese, or lean meat for the protein.

Don’t include a lot of fat.

Try to keep the fat to a minimum. It can cause digestive issues. You’ll get some healthy fat with pre-workout snacks like a hard-boiled egg on avocado toast. Avoid a high-fiber snack, since it slows down digestion and can also cause digestive issues. It takes longer for the food to get through your digestive tract. Make sure you drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. If your workout is longer or intense, you might need to include a drink that replenishes electrolytes.

  • Vegetables and dip can make a good pre-workout snack. You can make the dip from yogurt or hummus. A cup of overnight oats or oatmeal with nuts, berries, or raisins can also be a good snack,
  • Consider making a smoothie for your pre-workout snack. You can add a scoop of protein powder to increase the protein or make it with milk, adding fruit and vegetables for the carbohydrates.
  • The bigger the meal, the longer you should wait to exercise. A light lunch might cause you to wait an hour or two, while a full dinner might cause a three-hour delay.
  • The need for a pre-workout snack depends on the intensity of your workout. If you know you’re going to the gym for some active recovery and not pushing it, you probably won’t need to fuel before you go.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Gain Lean Muscle And Boost Your Stamina

Gain Lean Muscle And Boost Your Stamina

Do you want lean muscle mass? All muscle is lean, but fat can get into the deteriorated muscle fibers if you don’t exercise. When muscle fibers do that, fat deposits replace it. That means building lean muscles is the same as building any muscle tissue as you lose fat tissue. It is easier to do everything when you’re stronger. It takes less effort to do simple things, including carrying your weight when you walk. That means you’ll build your endurance and stamina.

Muscles support the joints and act as shock absorbers.

If you run or jump, strong muscles can help protect your joints and prevent damage from the impact. It helps you workout longer in the gym, which also transfers to other areas of your life. If you’re strong, you’ll be able to walk further without getting tired. Simple tasks will remain simple and not overwhelm you with exhaustion. Strong muscles help you maintain your stamina whether you’re playing with the kids or scrubbing the floor.

Use heavy loads to build stronger muscles.

Focus on your form by lifting lighter weights initially. Once you know you perfected your form, increase the load. Training with heavy loads requires more control and also builds more strength. While exercising correctly is vital, so is recovery time. Your body builds muscle when you rest. As you work out, it makes micro tears in the muscles. When those heal, they make the muscles stronger. You need at least one rest day a week and 48-72 hours between workouts for the same muscle group.

Eat healthy to build lean muscle tissue and boost your energy.

If your diet is nothing but food with added sugar or highly processed carbohydrates, not only will you not build muscle tissue, but you’ll be also cutting your stamina. Sugar boosts your energy, which drops as rapidly as it increases. Instead, focus on whole foods and include more protein in your diet. Protein is the building block that forms muscles. No matter how hard you work, if you don’t have the necessary materials for building muscle tissue, it won’t happen.

Prioritize sleep. It’s vital to get at least six hours a night. Some people need as much as nine hours. Each person is different, so find the amount of sleep that’s right for you.

Eat a pre-workout and post-workout snack that’s carbs and protein. It can help with recovery and boost your energy during the workout to ensure you won’t hit the wall mid-session.

Focus on exercises that involve several muscles and joints. These compound exercises work more muscles at once. That makes them more effective. Include HIIT workouts for strength-building. They also boost your stamina as you build muscle tissue.

Use a trainer. Trainers can create a program that’s perfect for your goals. They help you accomplish more in less time. A trainer will also show you the proper way to do each exercise, reducing the potential for injury and improving results.